Upon the release of the highly anticipated film The Many Saints of Newark, which acts as a prequel to the narrative of The Sopranos, fans of the show finally got a chance to revisit that universe in style. In addition to that, they also got the opportunity to see the iconic role of a young Tony Soprano being played by James Gandolfini’s own son – Michael Gandolfini.
While describing his involvement in this monumental project, Michael acknowledged that this was a major moment in his life. He went so far as to call it “the toughest decision” he has had to make so far: “You know, I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to walk out of this feeling like I’d grown in terms of my feelings towards my dad.”
“I just wanted to be the best actor I could be,” Gandolfini continued. “Portraying Tony in the way David wanted, scene by scene. I didn’t think about my grief because… well, I would have shit the bed… My dad’s character had all this beautiful sensitivity underneath this aggression. This version of him is the reverse. His curiosity and sensitivity comes first. He’s not a gun-wielding gangster. He’s a kid who gets whittled down and pulled in.”
In a recent interview, Michael was asked to choose his favourite moment from The Sopranos. He had never actually watched the entire show before but he got around to it while preparing for the role, claiming that watching his late father through the narrative arc of the show was an intense process and overwhelming at times.
“My greatest moment of all The Sopranos? Oh my god… Paulie Walnuts going to the medium’s house. When he talks to the ghost is one of my favourite moments for sure,” Gandolfini stated. Here, he is referring to the surreal Season 2 Episode 9 where Paulie visits a psychic to deal with feelings of anxiety and ends up lashing out at a ghost.
“Paulie is great, but I also like when Janice goes to anger management and she starts getting better and Tony is poking her at the dinner table until they argue,” Michael added. “I love that sequence.” This is another iconic moment from the show, see in Season 5 Episode 10. It gives us fascinating insight into the mind of Tony, showing us how he cannot tolerate the fact that his sister is working on her anger and becoming a better person.